This pie can be made with or without a traditional baked crust by using your favorite press-in pie crust or chilled in individual dessert bowls. It is flavorful, light in texture and begs to be scarfed down.
You can make your own crust: baked, pressed or go crustless. Here’s one for a nut crust combining almonds, pecans and/or hazelnuts which you toast briefly beforehand and then, when cool, process in your food processor. You will need 2 1/2 cups of finely ground nuts for this recipe. If you process them too much, you will end up with a nut butter. Remove from the processor. I like to sift mine so the particles are all the same size.
To the ground nuts, add 1-2 tablespoons sugar, either cane or brown; although with the toasted and ground nuts, the brown sugar gives the crust quite a rich flavor. Add 3-4 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil; stir until incorporated and easy to press into the bottom of your pan, which for me is a springform pan that has been greased with coconut oil. Let the pie crust rest in the refrigerator for up to an hour. Then place it in a 350-365 degree oven for approximately 12-15 minutes until lightly browned, watching its edges closely those last few minutes so they don’t get too crispy. Cool thoroughly.
For the cheesecake filling:
- 1 container (8 ounces) of cream cheese brought to room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt or make your own kefir feta or yogurt feta cheese
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup liquid honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- A sprinkle of salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon zanthan gum (If using guar gum, double the amount. Because lemon juice is used in the recipe, I prefer to use xanthan gum or guar gum as a stabilizer and thickening agent rather than gelatin.)
Using a food processor, a wire whip or hand mixer, whip the cream cheese until light and creamy; then add the other ingredients including sprinkling in the zanthan gum as you whip to act as a stabilizer for the lemon juice. Whip well until everything is very light and creamy.
Pour the filling into the cool pie shell or individual custard cups; set in refrigerator for a few hours or over night until well chilled.
- 2 to 3 cups berries, fresh or frozen
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water (less if using frozen)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
Place the berries, water and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan and place over medium heat stirring frequently so as not to scorch; bring to a simmering boil. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix the cornstarch and water. Slowly add the starch mixture into the blueberries and stir gently. Simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You may need to add more water.
Remove from heat and stir in, until thoroughly mixed:
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 almond extract
- Zest of one lemon (1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon butter
Slice the pie or arrange the dessert bowls and top with sauce. A warm sauce is very pleasant on the chilled dessert.
Until next time, safe journeys!